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Topic # 111374 1-Nov-2012 10:12 Send private message

Just received:


Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams has today confirmed a deal has been reached for free non-standard residential connections to the ultra-fast broadband network.The government and Crown Fibre Holdings have reached agreement with UFB partners Chorus, Enable and Northpower that provides for free residential connections for distances of up to 200 metres per house from the road, until at least the end of 2015.

The remaining UFB partner company, Ultra-Fast Fibre, which operates in the central North Island, has already undertaken to provide free residential connections until 2019. It is the government’s intention to continue to work towards residential connections being free with the other UFB partners until the end of 2019, when the network build finishes.

“Today’s announcement provides certainty for the next three years while we finalise negotiations for the remainder of the build period,” Ms Adams says.

“Given the enormous benefits and the wide range of services UFB will offer, we want switching to fibre to be as simple as possible.

“While the provision of free connections was already in place for the vast majority of homes, the uncertainty for those classed as non-standard was creating some concern for retail service providers and the public.”

The UFB partners have agreed to fund the majority of the additional connection package, whilst some additional value has been provided through negotiated technical changes in the respective contracts without increasing the government’s $1.35 billion total investment.

Under the agreement, there is an allowance of 200 metres per property to connect to the UFB network. For example, three houses sharing a right of way would have up to 600 metres of free installation from the edge of the legal road.

In the rare event that the allowance is exceeded, a customer will need to contribute towards any costs beyond 200 metres.

Estimates suggest that only about 0.3 per cent of UFB residential premises fall into the category of having a connection longer than 200 metres.

“In negotiating with the UFB partners to achieve this outcome, we had to be mindful of ensuring a fair balance of equity between homeowners and getting the best use of public funds,” Ms Adams says.

“In reaching the final balance, it is my view, that for the largest of properties where the connection length exceeds 200 metres, it is appropriate those property owners contribute towards any additional cost.”

Under the package, fibre connections are also free for people who live in a multi-unit complex which is three storeys or less.

For multi-unit complexes that are more than three storeys, the UFB partners have already agreed to fund the first $1000 of installation costs per tenancy under their existing wholesale agreements with retail service providers.

“Faster broadband is an important part of our wider infrastructure programme which the government is setting out today in its Building Infrastructure report and I want to congratulate the Government's UFB partners for their commitment to a fibre future for New Zealand."



Question and Answers:

Who qualifies for free connections?
The government and Crown Fibre Holdings have reached agreement with UFB partners Chorus, Enable and Northpower that provides an allowance of 200 metres per house until at least the end of 2015.

Ultra-Fast Fibre, which operates in the central North Island, has already undertaken to provide free residential connections until 2019. It is the government’s intention to work towards residential connections being free with the other UFB partners until the end of 2019, when the network build finishes.

Estimates suggest that only about 0.3 per cent of UFB residential premises fall into the category of having a connection longer than 200 metres.

What was the previous agreement?
Northpower and Enable were only required to fund installations for residential customers that involved distances of up to 30 metres for buried fibre, 60 metres for aerial and 100 metres for approved conduit or open trench. Chorus was only required to fund up to 15 metres buried fibre, 30 metres aerial, and 100 metres approved conduit or open trench. Any home owner with installations over longer distances could have been required to pay some contribution for the extra distance.

What about people who live in apartments?
Under the package, fibre connections are also free for people who live in a multi-unit complex which is three storeys or less.

For multi-unit complexes that are more than three storeys, the UFB partners have already agreed to fund the first $1000 of installation costs per tenancy under their existing wholesale agreements with retail service providers.

What about private roads or rights of way?
The 200 metre limit for free installation will be applied on a pro rata basis for residences with shared access. For example, three houses sharing a right of way would have up to 600 metres of installation length free.

What level of reinstatement must UFB installers meet when connecting homes?
Partners will reinstate all services on a “like to like” basis. This means they will use concrete where concrete was used, grass where grass was used, and asphalt where asphalt was used. They do not guarantee to match surface finish, and reinstatement will be limited to where the trench is dug.

What consents are needed for connections to homes in a right of way, or private road, or gated community?
Before UFB can be deployed down a right of way, private road, or within a gated community, all of the property owners must provide written consent.

Will the $20 million from Chorus be enough to last until the end of 2015?
The 31 December 2015 timeframe is based on a 38 per cent uptake rate by residential users. This uptake rate is high for the first few years of the build of a new fibre network. By way of international comparison, uptake for Verizon in the United States is at 37 per cent after six-and-a-half years and in Singapore uptake is 18 per cent after three-and-a-half years.




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  Reply # 710243 1-Nov-2012 10:17 Send private message

Great news.

Unfortunately, I think where I live, the final quarter of 2019 may be an optimistic time for UFB to be available. We always seem to be the last, although at least we have been cabinetised, and VDSL2 is supposedly available to my house.

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  Reply # 710245 1-Nov-2012 10:20 Send private message

Nice. I'll have to get a measurement taken for my place. Pretty sure I'd come in under 200m. Shared right of way (to an extent) with three other houses so should be plenty of metreage to go around :-)




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  Reply # 710254 1-Nov-2012 10:32 Send private message

Any idea what the $20 million figure is quoted in the last question? Have Chorus been paid more money? Or have they allocated $20 million for installs?




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  Reply # 710259 1-Nov-2012 10:40 Send private message

This is from Enable:


Enable has announced that all residential fibre broadband connections will be free until the end of 2015, as it builds its network throughout greater Christchurch.

“This is a significant opportunity for our retail service providers as it provides them certainty when they talk to their residential customers about connecting to fibre” said Enable CEO Steve Fuller.

“More importantly it makes connecting to fibre affordable to everyone, so more people can enjoy the benefits that fibre broadband offers. Up until today, our standard free connection would have covered approximately 85 percent of homes – but now it’s free to connect for all of them.”

Enable’s position as a wholesaler means the free connection offer is to retail service providers and it is up to them to pass this on to their customers.

“We hope all retail service providers offering services in the residential market will continue to pass free connections on to their customers,” added Mr Fuller.

“Free connection, and the fact that fibre broadband services cost about the same each month as copper services, addresses any concerns potential residential users have about the cost of moving to fibre.”




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  Reply # 710262 1-Nov-2012 10:44 Send private message

The UFB partners have agreed to fund the majority of the additional connection package, whilst some additional value has been provided through negotiated technical changes in the respective contracts without increasing the government’s $1.35 billion total investment.


Would be interesting to know what was conceded here, given the government doesn't seem to be spending any extra money.

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  Reply # 710263 1-Nov-2012 10:47 Send private message

sbiddle: Any idea what the $20 million figure is quoted in the last question? Have Chorus been paid more money? Or have they allocated $20 million for installs?


Looks like Chorus is spending more.

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  Reply # 710269 1-Nov-2012 10:51 Send private message

great news. should help uptake quite a bit.

I presume there is no change to internal installation costs though?

currently chorus only provide (I think) about 5m of internal wiring, so if you want your ONT somewhere different inside your house you will have to pay extra for that.

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  Reply # 710277 1-Nov-2012 10:58 Send private message

trig42: Great news.

Unfortunately, I think where I live, the final quarter of 2019 may be an optimistic time for UFB to be available. We always seem to be the last, although at least we have been cabinetised, and VDSL2 is supposedly available to my house.


Looking at how the UFB maps are expanding we're in the same boat, so I decided to go with VDSL2.   Well worth it IMO! (If your house wiring is up to scratch and you're <600m (or so) from the cabinet)

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  Reply # 710370 1-Nov-2012 13:12 Send private message

It's also worth noting that this deal is only until the end of 2015. With most homes not getting UFB until year 6 onwards this means the deal won't apply unless it's extended.


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  Reply # 710378 1-Nov-2012 13:18 Send private message

sbiddle: It's also worth noting that this deal is only until the end of 2015. With most homes not getting UFB until year 6 onwards this means the deal won't apply unless it's extended.



It also seems like very few people even in the existing UFB zones actually understand the benefits of UFB so possibly very few houses will take up this offer? Or is there due to be a big UFB push to get more people onto it.  Must admit I've not looked at UFB uptake figures lately, still quite dismal?

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  Reply # 710383 1-Nov-2012 13:26 Send private message

NonprayingMantis: great news. should help uptake quite a bit.

I presume there is no change to internal installation costs though?

currently chorus only provide (I think) about 5m of internal wiring, so if you want your ONT somewhere different inside your house you will have to pay extra for that.


I was wondering the same thing.  By my estimate, our house is within the original 15m limit from the roadside to the house (ETP), but the internal wiring to the logical place for the ONT was about 7m, depending on whether you wire in a straight line, or have to duck and dodge underneath the house.

I'm kind of hoping that 200m of wiring, which is going to be more than most people will need, can include external/internal wiring, so large houses close the street, or small houses far away from the street, can be treated equally.

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  Reply # 710387 1-Nov-2012 13:30 Send private message

It is good, but I think I am more than 200m away from the street, probably closer to 300.

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  Reply # 710511 1-Nov-2012 16:53 Send private message

Pity I can't use it to cover the last 75 metres between the edge of the UFB zone and my house, which isn't even in year 3 despite sitting virtually on the border.

Also, I note that this figure relies on less than 40% uptake of UFB. Are we really setting our targets so low?



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  Reply # 710512 1-Nov-2012 16:56 Send private message

Well, currently almost a 100,000 houses can be connected but only a thousand or (citation needed) are.

Cost is the main problem. And the fact that plans don't have large enough cap, international traffic is slow and we don't have decent video content distribution in the country. Everything else (video calls, music streaming, email, browsing, torrents) work perfectly well with existing infrastructure.

What else could prevent adoption?





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  Reply # 710515 1-Nov-2012 17:02 Send private message

Well, I'll certainly be jumping in as soon as I can! :)

The Orcon address checker is now saying that "Fibre has been laid in your area, but we can't connect you until we undertake some technical work". It doesn't sound like it's too far off. Interestingly the Chorus site doesn't list availability here but they were digging up the street a little while ago and I wondered what they were doing. Now I know!

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